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Saturday 24th August 2019

Stop loneliness by retiring later

13th February 2012

The director of Downing's Street Behavioural Insight Team, Dr David Halpern, has suggested that people who continure to work after they retire have an increased life expectancy.


Dr Halpern, who specialises in social and health activities, was speaking at a conference in Sweden in front of Prime Minister David Cameron and other political leaders. 

He suggested that working helped older people to socialise and prevented them from becoming lonely, which he suggested was "much worse" than smoking. 

When Dr Halpern was asked a question about how politicians could help elderly people to participate in more activities, he referred to the ONS study which showed links between social contact and an increased lifespan.

He said the majority of people over the age of 75 were lonely "most or all of the time" and added that staying active could help to prevent this.

He explained: "Work matters, particularly for older people, not just for money but absolutely for social contact."

"We know smoking is really bad for you. But much worse are things like social relationships. If you have got someone who loves you, someone you can talk to if you have got a problem, that is a more powerful predictor of whether you will be alive in 10 years' time, more than almost any other factor, certainly more than smoking." 

A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office explained that Dr Halpern was not "calling for all old people to go out and work." 

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